THE double-act, or rather the writing duo, of Ian Hislop and Nick Newman have come up with a new play as a follow-up to their war-time story, The Wipers Times, which was afforded considerable critical acclaim and pulled in huge audiences during its UK tour.

This time they are touring with Trial by Laughter, a show from Trademark Touring and the Watermill Theatre and because of demand the play has been given a tour extension.

It will be at Malvern’s Festival Theatre for a week from Tuesday, January 22 to Saturday, January 26.

Once again Hislop, who is still running Private Eye and is also a familiar face on television with appearances on Have I Got News for You as well as presenting railway documentaries, and co-writer Newman have once again taken inspiration from real life events for their new offering.

This time it’s based on their considerably acclaimed original BBC Radio 4 drama of the same name.

In 1817 bookseller, publisher and satirist William Hone stood trial for parodying religion, the despotic government and the libidinous monarchy.

The only crime he had committed was to be funny.

In 2018, the satirists Hislop and Newman rediscovered this forgotten hero of free speech and in their play ask if just over 200 years later if our press has any greater freedom.

The current cast includes Helena Antoniou (Lady Hertford), Philippe Edwards (Sidmouth), Jeremy Lloyd (Prince Regent), Peter Losasso (Cruickshank), Nicholas Murchie (Justice Abbott/Duke of York), Joseph Prowen (Hone), Eva Scott (Lady Conyngham/Sarah) and Dan Tetsell (Lord Ellenborough).

Hislop works at Private Eye with life-long friend Newman, an award-winning cartoonist and writer, who alongside his role at the satirical magazine, has been pocket cartoonist for The Sunday Times since 1989.

As a scriptwriting duo, their work includes five years on Spitting Image (ITV), Harry Enfield and Chums (BBC Two), and My Dad’s the Prime Minister (BBC One), as well as the film A Bunch of Amateurs and The Wipers Times, which won the Broadcast Press Guild Award for single drama, and was nominated for a BAFTA.

Trial by Laughter is their third play to be co-produced with The Watermill Theatre and Trademark, following adaptations of A Bunch of Amateurs and The Wipers Times.